BARAMULLA: A most wanted commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the longest surviving terrorist in Kashmir, was among the two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces in Baramulla district on Thursday, police said.
Five security personnel including an officer were injured in the encounter and three terrorists are still holed up.
Police said that slain LeT commander Yousuf Kantroo figured in the list of top 10 most wanted terrorists in Kashmir valley and was finally eliminated in an anti-terror operation in Malwah area of Baramulla in northern Kashmir.
Acting on a specific piece of information generated by Budgam Police, a special team of police along with the Army (62RR) launched a joint cordon and search operation in Malwah. “During the search operation as the joint search party reached the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately upon them in which four soldiers including one officer received minor injuries,” a police official said.
He further said that Baramulla Police headed by the SSP also joined in the operation later, adding that a policeman from Baramulla district also got injured in the encounter and was shifted to the Army’s base hospital in Srinagar.
The official said that slain commander Kantroo initially joined as an over ground worker (OGW) of Hizbul Mujahideen and was arrested in 2005. He was released in 2008 but he again joined terrorist rank in 2017 and started killing innocent civilians, policemen and political workers. “Later on, he switched from Hizb to Lashkar outfit,” the official informed.
Police said that the identification of another deceased terrorist was being ascertained. It said that as per police records, the killed militants were part of groups involved in several criminal cases including attacks on Police/SFs and civilian atrocities.
Kantroo was involved in dozens of civilian atrocities and forces personnel killings including the killing of SPO Mohd Ishfaq Dar and his brother Umer Ahmad Dar resident of Chatabugh, Budgam on March 26, killing of BDC Chairman Sardar Bhupinder Singh in Srinagar last year.
In addition, police said that he was also involved in recruiting innocent youth into militancy folds including the recruitment of Faisal Hafeez Dar of Aaripanth, Magam.
Incriminating materials, arms, and ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter, a police spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, a video went viral on social media showing the mother of a trapped terrorist pleading with him to surrender. “Come back, my son! You are too young and innocent; these old cruel militants have deceived you. They are pickpocketers & goons who are misleading innocent and young boys,” she can be heard as saying.
Commenting on the viral video, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar yet again appealed to parents of terrorists to ask their wards for shunning the path of violence.
A police official said that an 18-year-old terrorist identified as Faisal Hafiz was trapped at the encounter site. His family had been brought there by security forces in a bid to persuade him to lay down his arms.